This is a tough subject. Many push God away simply because it’s difficult to balance God’s Sovereignty (all powerful and in-control God) and the bare truths of the world (rife with death, disease and evil). The question is, “If God is a God of love, why do good people die, bad people live and children suffer horrid disease and pain?” One could write a book about this subject, many have, and still not address every question. Hopefully, this helps a little.
First, we should establish that to the Christian, there is no doubt. Death frees us from the world, releases us to our true home. We pass from this pilgrimage to our permanent residence in Heaven. Is it arrogant to say you can know you’re going to heaven? It’s not. You can know.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13
Christians know they are destined for heaven; others hope or devise a plan. If you don’t know the Bible says you’re not going. In essence, death is a good thing for the Christian. This truth does not condone suicide, martyrdom or intentional self-destruction, but natural or accidental death.
This article was somewhat inspired by the death of Chad Phelps; his wife, Courtney; and chaperone Tonya Weindorf in Indianapolis, Indiana. We do not know them. This young couple had their whole lives before them, a 2 year old at home and Courtney was pregnant. Still, the Phelps family will
rejoice for Chad, Courtney and the baby. The Weindorf family will rejoice for Tonya; even though they hurt from the separation. Until you know the creator for who He is, it is difficult to put things into the proper perspective. We often make God what we want Him to be and when we do, we always come up short.
Good and bad things happen to good and bad people. The Bible says, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8, 16) How can He put up with this stuff? Why doesn’t He put an end to it? Why doesn’t He end disease, end suffering for the young, end all the wickedness, murders, rapes, thievery and violence? If God cares, He should do something. Many have voiced hatred at God’s apparent apathy.
There is a short answer to this question. God has done something and that something is more self-sacrificial than we can even imagine. There is a long answer to this question. God did not create the world as it is today. We should not judge His character. Unless the times you said, “Judge not lest ye be judged” only applies when it benefits you to voice those words.
God does not put up with all the stuff. It seems as though He does because we have too. We only see things here from our perspective. God judges on an eternal plane. All those who perpetrate sin will suffer eternal judgment. Many suffer judgment on earth as well (physically, emotionally or spiritually). We may not see God judge evil people; we do not see every criminal judged in court. Name an incarcerated rapist in India. God can name that individual.
Why doesn’t God put an end to it? The truth is, although we consider some sins more heinous than others, God sees them all the same. James 2:10 says,
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
We should not judge other’s sins. God’s ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts. As the Heavens are above the earth so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Remember the “be careful what you ask for” warning. Be careful what you ask for.
Why does bad stuff happen? Sin. Do we suffer because of Adam and Eve’s first sin? Yes, in part. God cursed the world because of it. We are born in sin, surrounded by sin and temptation to sin (Psalm 51:5). We have all sinned; no one is perfect.
Satan tempts people to do evil. “Good” (to us) people suffer because of their deeds. That is what happened to Job. He was a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:8). Satan tempted the Sabeans murdered his servants, sent fire from heaven that killed thousands of animals and killed all 10 of Job’s children. God never told Satan to destroy Job, his family or possessions. God said,
Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” (Job 1:12)
Satan could have blessed Job as much as he chose to destroy everything. Why do bad things happen? Because Satan was a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44)
Why doesn’t God do something about it? He did. God sent His only Son to live on earth, submit himself to the limitations of humanity and although innocent, submit to judgment, scourging and crucifixion by wicked mankind. Jesus was crucified to take our punishment for sins we commit (Galatians 1:4; Philippians 2; 1 John 2:2). Crime must be judged. God is the perfect Judge and His judgment for all sin is the same, eternal separation from Him. Jesus took upon himself every sin. Every person who lied, stole, spoke foul language or used God’s name in vain.
Our opportunity is not in this world. That is too short sighted. Our opportunity is in the future, in another place, in another existence. There is no death, no pain, no suffering, no disease and no sin in heaven (Revelation 21:4). God guards Heaven zealously; better than we can fathom. His home is perfectly sinless.
Why does God allow all these bad things to happen? Partly so you know how amazing it is in Heaven. Partly because we deformed this world and add to its tortured existence with each sin we commit. Partly because it is His creation and He has not decided to judge it yet. Partly because He is long suffering and desires that, “all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 2:9) Ultimately because this world is not the way God runs things, but the result of how we run things.
This is a fractured and tortured world (Romans 8:22). Is it God’s fault? He didn’t sin to start with, mankind did. Is it our fault? We are not always guilty of the direct contributing sin, but we do our part. Is it mankind’s fault? As a whole, even the best of us regularly sin somehow. To God every sin is a disqualification. All Adam and Eve did was disobey once. Adam and Eve didn’t kill anyone, beat anyone, hate anyone. Yet, they are just as guilty of sin as you or I. Sin causes all this stuff, not God.
To me, what makes our God awe-inspiring is that as wretched as we are, as much as we mess up, God can still love us. No human life is worth less than God’s own Son’s life. If you think about it, that’s amazing! Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). Jesus lived, and died that truth; therefore, providing freedom from this world.